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The Last Days of Judas Iscariot

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Stephen Adly Guirgis
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 79
Pub. Date: 2006
ISBN-10: 0822220822
ISBN-13: 9780822220824
Cast Size: 5 female, 10 male

About the Play:

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a full-length drama by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Set in a courtroom in Purgatory, the play puts Judas – the disciple alleged to have betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver – on trial to decide his eternal fate. Debated by assorted saints and sinners is whether Judas deserves an eternity in hell for his deeds. After all, wasn't he integral to the fulfillment of a divine plan for Christ to be crucified, to die and then be resurrected?

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot re-examines the plight and fate of the New Testament's most infamous and unexplained sinner. Boasting a large, zany cast of characters, the play asks one of the most plaguing questions in the Christian ideology: What happened to Judas Iscariot? The facts we know are these: Judas was the disciple of Jesus who betrayed his friend and teacher to the authorities. He is forever branded the ultimate villain for having betrayed Christ; afterwards, Judas fell into despair and hung himself from an olive tree; since then, he has been suffering for his deeds deep in Hell, and will continue to do so for all eternity. Is that really fair? Was Judas the duplicitous master of his own fate, a much-suffering pawn used for Jesus's ends, or just a man who made a mistake? Set in a courtroom in Purgatory, a trial is taking place in which two lawyers argue the innocence or guilt of Judas. He awaits his final judgement; meanwhile, historical and Biblical figures alike – Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas the Elder, Mother Theresa, Sigmund Freud, and Satan, among others – testify in a court of cosmic law to determine his fate. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot puts Judas' case to a hilarious, riotous, piercing trial, the results of which are sure to make the inhabitants of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory and the audience reconsider what each thought they knew about forgiveness, faith, and the human inside one of the history's most infamous figures.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot received its world premiere in 2005 at New York’s Public Theater. The play is regularly performed in regional repertory, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 5 female, 10 male (much doubling in the original production)

What people say:

"[The Last Days of Judas Iscariot] shares many of the traits that have made Mr. Guirgis a playwright to reckon with in recent years: a fierce and questing mind that refuses to settle for glib answers, a gift for identifying with life's losers and an unforced eloquence that finds the poetry in lowdown street talk … Mr. Guirgis is a zealous and empathic researcher, and he presents dilemmas of ancient Galilee in terms winningly accessible to the twenty-first century...." — The New York Times

"Stephen Adly Guirgis has written a real jaw-dropper…expressionistic fantasy … raw language and flamboyantly street-savvy characters … his imagination is dazzling and his command of language downright thrilling." — Variety

"…one of the most passionate and powerful young playwrights to have come down the theatrical runway … a must for anyone interested in the work of thoughtful and original playwrights." — CurtainUp

"An extraordinary play … not since Angels in America have I seen a play so unafraid to acknowledge the power of the spirit…." — The Guardian (UK)

"It's hard to know where to begin with this astonishing play that knocked me for six at the Almeida last night." — The Daily Telegraph

"This extraordinary, comic and gripping theological courtroom drama... is surely going to be on the shortlist for Best New Play of the Year." — The Independent on Sunday

"It is a must-see play of the moment, bursting with big ideas and a healthy scepticism." — The Sunday Express

"Gould relishes Guirgis' theatrical energy and ability to pull a surprise." — Time Out London

About the Playwright:

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor. Born and raised in New York City by an Irish-American mother and Egyptian father, he studied theatre at the State University of New York in Albany before being recruited by John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman to join New York City's non-profit LAByrinth Theater Company, of which he later became a co-artistic director. His screenwriting credits have included TV shows such as NYPD Blue and The Sopranos, and his play Between Riverside and Crazy won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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